Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's all fun and games

Yup. You know that old adage... it's all fun and games until someone glues their eye shut. This phrase was coined by a dear friend, Stephanie Bucci, many years ago when I was living in Atlanta. Turns out that some people can get very funny and witty when someone they know actually does glue their eye shut. That someone was me. Go figure.

There I was minding my own business and attending to the reparations of some fake nails (a late 80's requisite for all respectable woman in the south - - or so I like to think), when a bubble of superglue blasted out of the tiny tip of the applicator and landed right in my right eye. Just moments before I had been multi-tasking by doing my nails and watching Raising Arizona with BOTH eyes. Now, I could only watch with one. I had literally glued the damn thing shut. Even after all these years, any mention of the movie Raising Arizona makes my eye twitch. And not figuratively.

After a run to the emergency room where I was informed quite soberly that there was really nothing that could be done - - I just had to wait for the superglue to decompose in about three days. I say "soberly" cause honestly - - don't you think that about 2 seconds after I pulled out of the ER parking lot there was much guffawing and snorting by the staff? But, wait I did. I waited three damn long days with my frickin eye lid glued tighter than a duck's ass. My eye finally opened. What looked like a 90% sucked to oblivion pineapple flavored lifesaver made of superglue was what was left. That little sliver of lifesaver/glue was also now the permanent home to every single solitary eye lash on my right eye. I was a right-eye-baldy for several months until the eye lashes had a chance to grow back in. It was freakish.

But, here we are nearly 20 years later and this little incident continues to haunt me. No, not because it ranks in the top ten stupidest-things-I've-ever-done - - cause honestly I don't think that that would even make the top 25. Yes, I've done some amazingly stupid things in my life. It haunts me because at least once a year since then I go partially bald in the middle of my eyelashes on my right eye. It's as if when all the eye lashes grew back 20 years ago, instead of shedding intermittently like the old eye lashes - they all are on the same grow/shed schedule. Once a year I have a freakish right eye issue. I am fairly adept at applying just the right amount of eye-liner to the baby-bum pink part where my eyelashes used to be. But still. It's depressing to be reminded once a year that you once had to wear a black eye patch for an entire week and listen to your coworkers make every single pirate joke there was known to man. Arghhhh (say that like a pirate...)

The reason that I bring this up is because I am going to a costume party this weekend. I am going to be dressing up like a Golden Girl on a Cruise. A fairly funny theme for a 50th b-day party - - but honestly - - aren't we already nearly Golden Girls already? But, our job is to make our old selves look older. I thought it would be funny if I went for the "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" make-up scheme to accompany my elderly-sparkling-nautical-themed outfit. To get the right over-the-top-can't-really-see-my-face-in-the-mirror-look, I though I would go and buy some false eyelashes.

So, I go to the store and buy some lashes (scary little spider-esque creatures when they are out of the package and not yet adhered to your eye). I decided in the interest of having my make-up routine down pat the night of the party, I would do a dry run and adhere the lashes today. In other words, I wanted to practice. What a fiasco.

Once I got beyond my fear of the glue (I tried to glue my fingers shut first thinking that would be the prudent thing to do before approaching my eye lashes with anything faintly adhesive. My fingers did not permanently bond with one another, so I felt pretty good about that), I smeared the little furry things with the enclosed bonding agent and then attempted for the next 20 minutes to get them to stick to my eyes. I now have a deeper appreciation for Liza Minnelli than I ever thought possible. How the hell she manages to get those springy monsters on her eyes every day without one of them continually flapping up on the ends like some bad keystone cops routine is beyond me. And while I didn't glue my eye shut (that was what you were waiting for right?), I did manage to poke myself in the eye repeatedly and I managed to get enough caustic glue in my eye to cause serious irritation and stinging for the remainder of the day.

I have given up on the whole false eyelash idea and will just compensate by the application of a great deal of blue shimmery eye shadow and many coats of whatever mascara was used by Tammy Faye. But oddly, the most enlightening thing to come out of this is that I have to face the music and realize that I will not realize my dream of being a back-up singer to Liza (to whom false eyelashes and slinky sparkly dresses are required). Some dreams die hard. They die harder when you only have half the eyelashes on your right eye.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Games, Museums and Photographers

And the Reds continue their two game winning streak...Great hit by George the Younger who (according to sources who actually attended the game) ripped this one out for an infield triple. If only George the Elder had had a camera he could have caught the look of pure unadulterated joy when he ran into third. (Or, so I heard. I did not go to the game. I stayed home and played Gin with Henry who summarily beat the crap out of me. A sobering experience.)

Yesterday we took some time for a little family outing and went to the new(ish) California Academy of Sciences. This was only weekend day in the foreseeable future where we could all go - given the rigorous baseball scheduled for the next few months. Henry had already been there for school and had gotten a family pass. Whoopee! We were going for a "free" day at the museum.

When we got there, the line stretched as far as we could see for people getting "regular" tickets. We quickly realized that our "free" pass would send us directly to the end of that line. Then we spied the "Membership Only" line. It was short, they were walking right in, and we LOVE walking right in. We are not really Line People. So to avoid the hour long wait, we were inducted as Members of the Academy of Sciences.

There wasn't an actual oath or anything. You just needed a valid picture ID, but being a member of an "academy" makes one sound really, really smart and capable. I mean, not just ANYONE can become a member. Well, yes they can, but it still sounds really cool - like something you could put on your resume to make you sound cerebral and in-the-science-know. I'm gonna carry my temporary card with aplomb. And, armed with these little snippets of paper proclaiming us "Members Extraordinaire" we hopped the line and our "free" day at the academy ended up costing us more like $150 bucks. Still, we can go back whenever we want. Yup, that's the rationalization we used. Oh, and the membership fee WAS tax DEDUCTIBLE. Another swell selling point to make us feel better about shelling out the cash to avoid standing in a damn long line.

Turns out the place is pretty darn neat, so it is likely that we will go back. Or at least Henry and I will go back. If Henry could rent a room at this place, he would go there and live. This kid LIVES for visiting museums. The Exporatorium, another SF science related institution (to which we are ALSO members) is Shangri-la for him. Can we make bubbles the size of hippos? I don't know but LET'S TRY! Can we get the metal ring to spin on the rotating table? I don't know but LET'S TRY! He even wanted to stand in line (yes, we were still forced to stand in a line) for 45 minutes so that we could see and explore the rain forest encapsulated in a very cool dome underneath the living roof of the museum. I mean, how THRILLING is that? To Henry, it's pretty doggone fabulous. If you ever want the best companion at a science museum, we will lend you Henry.

And as a last note on visiting museums... I continue to be flummoxed by people who take pictures and videos at museums, and for that matter, let's include zoos. There they are, camera in hand, zealously capturing images of the itsy-bitsy green and red tree frog as it does its thing. (Which is the case of tree frogs, is actually very little. Unless you consider that sitting there motionless is actually doing something). You arrive home with thousands of frames of photos of tree frogs, or rain forest butterflies or, I don't know, the common hippo or a GREAT photo of the Rosetta stone. Whatever. What in the name of all that is holy do you do with these photos? Show them to your friends? Make your kids watch the video? (Hey Kids! Grab the microwave popcorn! We're gonna watch the VIDEO of the Academy of Sciences trip. LOOOOK at that moss! Remember the macaw exhibition? Wonderful! Fabulous! OOOOOH!). Why? I simply don't get it. See it. Experience it. IN PERSON.

My point is, that unless there are people in those photos emoting some reaction over the stellar qualities of a particular section of rain forest moss - - it just doesn't have any context. Doesn't it make more sense just to buy the photo book at the Museum Store, where folks with far more experience than you have taken far better photos of that stuff? If you really, really want to look at photos of a common zoo zebra - - get the little packet of 6 postcards. Put them on your coffee table. Leaf through them with joy and abandon. I know this is kind of snarky, but that's just my observation.

And finally, a George the Younger skin update. He still looks like The Thing. But, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Somewhere during week 4 of the red scourge we started seeing tiny patches of his "real" skin inbetween the seething red masses. We know that things are improving. Still, he spent some time in tears on Saturday night 'cause it just hurt and itched so bad. Our hearts break for him. We are keeping our fingers crossed that things are moving in the right direction. (Oh, but we made him go to the "free" day at the museum anyway. Better to be itching and learning than just plain itching. Our new family motto...)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Emu Oil

Not much news to report on the home front over the past day. George the Younger tried his new foamy get-rid-of-the-scourge stuff and the first application didn't go well. And by not well, I mean he ended up screaming, jumping around, flapping his arms and crying because it stung so viciously. And, it is worth knowing that George the Younger is neither a jumper nor a cryer. It was heart-breaking to see. At first I thought that this was going to be a hell of a three weeks if I had to make him scream and cry twice a day - - but gratefully the next application (which required some SERIOUS cajoling and promising of all things chocolate) went much better. We remain hopeful that this stuff will do the trick.

I also need to make a shout out to my "aunt" Kelly who recommended the Emu Oil stuff. I know I joked about it in a prior post, but this stuff is fantabulous. I am not sure whether it is helping George the Younger's full body suit of red seething rash per se, since we have a ways to go - - but if it works on his body like it is working on my feet, then this stuff is manufactured by the Gods on Mt. Olympus. Miracle stuff. Mana from heaven. A phenomenon in a plastic pot.

I have heels that are often described in my own words as hoofs. Not cloven, but hoofs nonetheless. I apologize to each and every person who gives me a pedicure in advance - I thank them for their upcoming hard work. These gals really need to lean in to it for me to end up with the perfect pedicure. I miss the use of razors in Asia. Basically, those folks just perform minor surgery by stripping off layers of heel to get the pretty pink heels we all know and love. I tip well. Really well. BUT, after four days of applying this magic Emu Oil - - I am a changed woman. Or, at least the description of my feet has been downgraded from industrial-grade-sandpaper to kitchen-grade-pot-scrubber. I am well on my way to smooth and supple. I am a convert. I am going to order this stuff by the case. I am going to save money on tips to pedicurists (is there such a word as that?)

Given the results on my feet - -I am thinking of starting just to dip myself in it entirely every night. Screw the rest of the anti-aging beauty routine. Just dunk yourself in a vat of emu oil, marinate for 30 minutes and emerge sleek, satiny and looking decades younger. Sounds like a plan to me.

In other news, George the Younger won his second baseball game last night 15-3. He got one hit, walked once and had a picture perfect slide in to home to score a run. As usual, he played well defensively. I think that they have settled on having him play mostly third base since he is one of the only kids who can throw consistently and accurately to first. I like when he plays infield as I can remain engaged in the game. Outfield is just dang boring to watch.

And finally, George the Elder is on his first business trip after being at home constantly since January 2008. Of course I miss him. Of course the boys miss him. But, I have to admit that it's kind of nice to have him gone for just a few days. You know - - absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that crap. I put the boys to bed after feeding them Mickey D's after the baseball game and proceeded to flit through a number of bad TV shows: Something about fat girls having weddings, a snippet of the movie Enchanted (I am a confirmed geek about watching musical numbers) and I watched Idol with wild abandon. The kinds of things that are viewed as what-the-hell-are-you-watching by the menfolk in the house. Yes, it will be nice when he is home. But for now, I am looking forward to this evening when I plan to watch Pretty Woman and eat popcorn for dinner once the boys are down for the count. Wow, when the cat's away all things go to hell in a handbasket in our house.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Most Likely

First, thanks to all who sent good "wishes" our way. Turns out that the beggars are riding. What they are riding is still an unanswered question...

Doc says it's not psoriasis, at least in his opinion. But that's pretty much where it ended. There's still a question about WHAT exactly this IS. It's most likely viral, it most likely will go away in anywhere from one to three months and it most likely will respond to topical therapy. That's a whole lot of most likely isn't it? I was beginning to get the feeling that most likely was a term that they taught in medical school to take the place of the less comforting phrase of "who-the-#$%-knows?".

So, armed with new foamy stuff that looks like a can of Nair, we begin to fight the unknown red scourge. We will wait about three weeks and then we will try to rule out (or in) some of the most likely things. If we cannot, then they will do a skin biopsy. We decided against that this morning.

Given the option of having a piece of George the Younger's back cut off, I decided against. I decided "against" jointly with the doc, just in case you are thinking he really pushed for this and I pushed back. Frankly, if it was going to make a difference I would have grabbed the scalpel myself. Surely, I would have done a crappier job than him - given his medical training - - but I have seen my fair share of medical dramas on TV.

So, after a long 24 hours of worry, we are at placated at this point that it is not an auto-immune disease. Hurrah for that! I most likely will take a nap this afternoon. Worrying is exhausting business.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Road

Nearly 20 years ago I went to see a doctor about some problems I was having. At 29, you think that there's a cure for every ailment. It's just the way it is. But after spending less than an hour with this guy he sat down across the desk from me and said "I think you have MS." And so the story goes. I now know that everything doesn't have a cure and that sometimes you get handed some pretty big packages to carry for the rest of your life.

Today I took George the Younger back to the doctors about his rash. In a whole lot less than an hour she looked at me and said, "I believe that this is psoriasis." Huh? We still don't know that this is what he's got, but it's a pretty heavy package to be holding right now. This would be a BIG deal. This is a lifelong thing. This is what chronic is. This I know.

So, tomorrow we see a great dermatologist who I am hoping has a completely different opinion. I'm hoping he will say that it is flibberty-gibbit-whatcha-hoosey and that but for a couple of pills and a shot of this and some cream all will be well. But, for tonight I worry. I worry a whole lot. I let George the Younger think that all is well, because I am so hoping that it is.

But, if it's not...if this is what he has, then we will work it out. I walk this road every day. I know how to keep moving. But, still if I had my wish - well, we wouldn't have to walk it together. It can be a bumpy road at times. Not what I was hoping for my baby boy.

Am hoping that tomorrow will bring good news and all this hand wringing will be for nothing. I just keep thinking, "If wishes were horses beggars would ride". So, if you all could hope for beggars riding, I would be grateful.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Venus and Willies

Thanks to Pityriasis Rosea, George the Younger continues to slowly morph in to some kind of horrific super-hero, comic book character. Sort of like a guy who has inadvertently come in to contact with a caustic gene altering agent while on a school field trip to a chemical plant. At this point, his skin resembles the bubbling hot crusty surface of Venus. It's hard to imagine being in his skin. It's so hard to imagine, that I simply don't do it. I would have to claw my way right through my epidermis. I can't believe that he's being such a trooper.

So as the various non-torso parts of his body became new territory for this creeping itchy rash, I began to wonder on Friday if he really has this Pityriasis thing after all. So like all 21st century parents, I took matters in to my own hands and perused the web looking for representative images of this skin malady. What I came across were a lot of pictures showing people with one very large "herald patch" and a patch of smaller bumps all over their torsos. There were some photos of more serious cases that look more similar to George the Younger, but these were labeled as atypical. As I said just a minute ago, George the Younger looks as if he is auditioning for "The Thing" in the Fantastic Four (except that you'd need to color The Thing bright red, take away all his muscles and make him look like all he wants to do is scratch himself relentlessly). I called the Dr. again.

For the record, I am NOT a panicky Mom. I am not prone to exaggerating symptoms. But in this case, there is no need for hyperbole. My poor boy is suff-er-ing. This scourge has even started to crawl up his weenie. A neck is one thing. When it moves to your arms that's another thing. When the Nasty starts to affect the willy - - well, that's a whole new ball of wax (so to speak). And, if that doesn't make the men who read this reach to tenderly cradle and shield their crotches, then you are an exceptionally hardy bunch. George the Elder can't even look at it without physically recoiling and shaking his head. I mean, how bad does it have to be that your 12 year old son actually lets his mother apply cream to his privates? I'm gonna have to go with pretty damn bad.

Of course, the doc couldn't see him on Friday or Saturday. We will head off to see her tomorrow morning first thing. The weekend has been very very long. We've tried everything from benydril to oatmeal baths to Emu Oil (Yup, someone obviously has time to squeeze oil from an emu). But beyond about a 15 minute reprieve, there's no long-term relief.

But, even in the midst of feeling like a big red itchy blob of a person, George bucked up and played his first little league game today. He is on the Reds (ha ha ha - funny to me, but not to him). They lost, but it was a good game. G made some exceptional defensive plays at shortstop, but couldn't seem to get his bat on the ball. Something tells me that when your arm pits feel and look like a pulsating wasp's nests - - you might not be on top of your game. I'm not making excuses for him. I'm just saying.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Over the past few days and for the next several weeks, George the Younger and I are getting to spend a lot of time in the car together. In fact, I spend a minimum of 2.5 hours in the car every day. George the Younger is with me for half of that time. He thinks the car rides are kind of fun. I just feel like I have an Audi strapped to my ass.

For the most part, we listen to a lot of radio. George the Younger gets in the car and as fast as you can say who's-your-uncle the station gets changed from my VERY BORING NPR to his very not boring station of choice. His station plays totally hip songs from hella cool artists such as Kanye, Little Wayne and Flo Rider (among others that I don't know and hope I can never identify). Oh, and he also cranks up the tunes so that my middle-aged looking station wagon heads down Van Ness Ave sounding more like a low rider pumping out the bad daddy bass beat. It makes him happy.

What doesn't make me happy is that I am beginning to feel some kind of kindred spirit with Tipper Gore. You know - - sensor lyrics, rate albums and songs with some kind of parental heads-up that the word "fuck" is going to used a dozen times in the upcoming tune. It would also be nice if I knew the 1,001 ways that down and dirty sex can be alluded to in any one musical number. Sadly, I can now see where she was coming from. I'm sitting there listening to my sweet son singing along just like he did when he singing the lyrics to Baby Beluga when he was three. But this time, I am damn sure he doesn't know exactly what he is singing about now that he is 12. Why do I know this? Because he would be SO embarrassed to say those things in front of his mother. I mean do you think he would sing "tastes like you but sweeter" or "Do me dirty?" at the top of his lungs in front of the one person that is least likely to see him naked in the past few months? I don't think so. I'm just waiting for the light bulb to illuminate. It should be fun to watch.

Beyond the radio listening, we do have some interesting conversations. And, some not so interesting ones - but some are damn funny. Yesterday we got held up on Van Ness as there was a bus stuck in the middle of an intersection. As we finally pulled around the bus, George shouts out, "Look at the Amazon!". And lo and behold, there standing on the sidewalk was one of the tallest blond women I had ever seen in a lifetime. She was a real giantess of a woman. I responded "Wow! She really is tall!" Then, not more than 3 seconds later this conversation takes place:

G3: Hey! Did you see that Gnome?
Me: A gnome? A real gnome?
G3: Yes! A gnome in a suit!
Me: A gnome in a suit? Like a little green and red suit?
G3: No, a gnome in a real suit.
Me. A suit, suit? Not a gnome suit?
G3: No, a gnome in a regular suit.
Me: Ah, you mean a small person in a regular suit?
G3: Of course, what did you think I was saying?

An Amazon and then a Gnome? It was some kinda day on Van Ness yesterday. Of course, the next conversation was about not calling small people gnomes. It's not nice. Gnomes stand in your front yard holding baskets and lanterns. Small people in suits are called small people. They don't want to stand in your yard holding anything. After that we turned the music way back up and sang along to Flo Rider together: "I turned around and gave her big booty a smack." Talk about a bonding moment. Sigh.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Heartbreak of Psoriasis and a Parade

My poor George the Younger has been inflicted with a terrible blight. No, he doesn't have Psoriasis. What he has is worse. He has a thing called Pityriasis Rosea. Why does my kid get the thing that no one has a cure for, doesn't know what causes it and isn't soothed by anything? It started with a little circular thing on his abdomen about a week ago. We thought it was a bug bite. Turns out it's called a Herald Patch. "Herald" as in the medieval guy with the long golden trumpet who toots out a song of great impending doom for the kingdom.

One little Herald Patch has now blossomed into a full fledged full body suit of itchy red spots. His little body is absolutely covered from neck to groin, back to front, with the itchiest red rash imaginable. His armpits look like he is morphing from a normal 12 year old to some kind of genetic hot red bumpy mutant. He's being real trooper about it - and for that I am grateful - but it's going to be a looooong 6-8 weeks. The "good news" from the doc is that he once he has this, he can never get it again. Believe me, this is NOT helping him cope with it. His ability to imagine a glorious rash-free future is broken.

Since the rash is not contagious (which doesn't seem to be registering with me, since I am also getting phantom itchies!), his regular life continues. This weekend was opening day for the San Francisco Little League. And what an opening day it was!

Each team, from the littlest of t-ball players to the biggest of the major leaguers, met in the Presideo parking lot to decorate a team pick-up truck. In my mind, I was imagining a few straggly trucks winding their way through the Marina and Cow Hollow. I obviously have a very limited imagination. There were at least 80 nicely decorated pick-up trucks - lots of posters and streamers and glitter - police escorts, fire truck leading and fire truck ending, kids throwing candy and beads to the assembled cheering crowd. In other words - a real parade - and tres fun for the kids.

After the truck parade, they gathered in the Marina and had an opening ceremony - - lots of kids singing the National Anthem and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. At least that's what George-the-younger said. I had volunteered to help with the bbq which meant that I ended up not seeing anything of the opening ceremony and running around like a one-armed-wall-paper-hanger for two hours trying to feed a hungry mob of families. They wanted their hot-dogs NOW!!

Yesterday afternoon, we got an email from the bbq coordinator that reported that we had served 1650 "meals" to the famished masses in just under 40 minutes. I am now fully qualified to work at Burger King. My skill at hastily wrapping burgers in little pieces of tin-foil in gale force winds is unmatched. I came home smelling like a grill.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What a girl wants

What women really want likely varies wildly among all kinds of woman. You know, like the differences between what Ginger would want and what Mary Ann might desire. Still, I think that beyond the perfect frosted lipstick (for Ginger) and the ideal checkered tie-up shirt (for Mary Ann) there are some commonalities for most woman. As for me, I have reduced that number of perfect-things-that-every-woman-really-wants down to a reasonable list of five. Yes, five digits on your fingers and five perfect things.

  1. The perfect pair of jeans. This tops the list of almost every woman I know. We all want that go-to pair of jeans that fits perfectly. No gaping, no riding, no muffin top, no thong showing, staggeringly flattering, yet wonderfully comfortable, pair of jeans. And, oh yes, they must transform themselves magically to the most current style (low-rise, high-rise, boycut or bootcut) while maintaining the above mentioned characteristics. One should also be able to find and purchase these perfect jeans at the exact moment when a hole in the inner thigh or too frayed bottoms appear and it's not hole-in-the-thigh-grunge fashion time. In other words, every store from your local grocery to the 7-11 should carry them especially for you. Always. 24 hours a day.
  2. The perfect pair of Khakis (or the ability to spell Khaki without having to think for a moment - where the hell does the H belong...). Again, this is the consummate pair of pants for every day wear. They should adhere to all the above characteristics, look great either with a t-shirt or something nicer. To put it another way, they need to be the wardrobe article that dresses you up with out resorting to real trousers that typically necessitate a dry cleaning bill and are shown in fashion magazines. AS IF most women, with the exception of the majority of working women and nearly all true southern women, actually dress like this during a normal day?? Further, said perfect khakis should emerge from the dryer looking pristine. So pristine that your iron actually turns its back of its own volition. But, they can't be made out of that shiny rayon-y synthetic material. Nope, just plain cotton that miraculously doesn't need ironing.
  3. The perfect Mascara. Not too Tammy Faye Baker, not too clumpy or gooey, and a distribution tube that possesses a wand that can be used ambidextrously without wand curvature being an impediment. The perfect mascara must make lashes lush in exactly one coat. It must be just waterproof enough so that its applied excellence is not negatively affected by tearing up at Hallmark commercials or watching your kid in a play. Simultaneously, it cannot be too waterproof so that you need caustic chemicals or special expensive make-up remover to remove it from your eyes and "morning mascara tracks" can be removed with a single tissue and some spit to avoid frightening the person who arrives in the morning to carpool your kids.
  4. The perfect Vacuum Cleaner. This may seem a bit of a stretch, but I'm not kidding about this one. Anyone who has spent more than $39 on a vacuum can relate. The perfect vacuum must have adequate suction without sounding like a jet taking off in your living room (i.e. can you hear your cell phone over the din?). It has to have a long enough cord (retractable of course) that you only need to plug it in a maximum of two times per home level. It must be able to vacuum all surfaces effectively and it must weigh about 10 ounces so that physically hefting it up the stairs is not paramount to the daily gym workout. Preferably, it would also transform in to a delightful piece of furniture that matched every interior so that you didn't have to find a closet to stash it in all the time.
  5. And finally, The perfect Bra. This is a tricky wicket. There are literally hundreds of thousands of bras available. But perfect bra requirements are simple. It must support. It must make your breasts and your back look good in a white t-shirt (THE article of clothing that is best worn when bra shopping. Nothing else shows the foibles of a bra better). It must not only be completely functional, but it must be sexy as well. It is a well known fact that any bra over a cup size C is tantamount to simply take large strips of beige industrial fabric and pulling them tautly across thick wire racks. And finally, the straps must stay on your shoulders and your back fat should not lop over/under the edges no matter what position your arms are held in.

In all honesty, I have been largely unsuccessful at acquiring items 1-4. There is always a major drawback that makes things like jeans, khakis, vacuum cleaners and mascara not-quite-perfect. I know this (and so do you) because I have a drawer full of jeans and khakis waiting to be joined by the next purchase on my pursuit of perfection. I only own one vacuum cleaner, but I continue to dream of the perfect one. I think I have a pretty good mascara, but I am not so loyal to it that I don't try others from time to time. Having found the pinnacle of mascaras would mean that my brand loyalty would be unquestioned. I'm still questioning.

But, recently I have discovered a bra that meets the lion's share of it's required perfection characteristics. I am in love. I think its major drawback is the "sexy" part of it - - let's just say Victoria's Secret stuff is pretty safe from a marketing standpoint - but it doesn't look like a main sail / construction site material combination that has been repurposed for use as an undergarment. But, as far as everything else goes its worth its weight in gold. I practically want to kiss it every morning. Nice support, it looks great under a t-shirt AND say good-bye to any back fat! So sweet. Hello so-very-nearly-nearly-perfect bra! I encourage you to head to your nearest store, or get on a web-site and buy yourself a Spanx bra. You can thank me for it later.

As for the rest of the stuff. I continue my search. We all continue our search. I think it's easier to find the right frosted lipstick (for Ginger) and the impeccable checkered tie-up shirt (for Mary Ann) than it is to located the perfect pair of jeans. It's a hard world out there.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where Now?

Yesterday, Henry brought home from school his most recent writing project. He wrote a book about his "immigration" similar to a book called "Esperanza Rising" that they had been reading in class.

This is the cover:

Before I was allowed to read the book, I was first forced to read the "blurb" on the back cover. According to Henry, this was to whet my reading appetite. He must have been paying attention to the purpose of a "blurb." I told him that it was so appetizing that I just could not wait to read more:

Once I had finished the blurb, Henry demurely excused himself to the back porch to await my review. He was so cute and nervously excited about this project. When I finally went out to see him, I was teary-eyed. He took that as a good sign and wanted to know " if I REALLY liked it??" I won't scan in all the pages, but here is the text. Punctuation, spelling and what not are verbatim.

WHERE NOW? By Henry Wisniewski

Chapter One:

A little baby boy named Savata (Sov-a-ta) was born in Cambodia. Cambodia is South of China, East of India and North of Singapore (in the middle of Thailand and Vietnam.) The weather is steamy hot about 90-110 degrees F. The animals that live in Cambodia are poisonous vipers, Greedy monkeys, stray dogs, deadly spiders (sometimes as big as a plate) and working termites. (The hills would be 6-7 ft tall.)

Chapter Two:

Soon after birth Sovata went to a poor orphanage in Phom Penh the capital of Cambodia. The babies slept in hammocks and the orphanage was like a military tent that had only one entrance and no windows. Instead, Everything was open. After a few months Sovata got adopted by two kind Americans named George and Wendy. The took him to the U.S.A.

Chapter Three:

Sovata was amazed by the great new land of Washington D.C. Especially the National Monument. In his new kind family he had one older brother named George and one older sister named Shannon. Sovata got an American name Henry. He lived there for 2 years until he moved to Tokyo Japan.

Chapter Four:

Tokyo Japan was where Henry grew up eating sushi rolls and going to an American School (A.S.I.J.) (It was great for him) He lived there for four 1/2 years. While he lived there he had 2 houses that required passwords. Then he got on a big airplane and left to a place in Europe.

Chapter Five:

Next stop was Frankfurt Germany. He made nice new friends and each school day he had German lessons. He got an English bulldog and named it Otto. He was trembling when he got his dog because a fierce dog had bit him once. Would it be the same? He lived there for two 1/2 years and moved again.

Chapter Six:

London, England was next. He finally was able to live in a single family house. Otto was not able to come with the family to London because he had to be tested for rabies. Henry was waiting for his dog to come but it seemed like centuries. Otto finally arrived 4 months later. Henry threw his arms out to pet and greet his dog. He lived there for 1 year and then moved again.

Chapter Seven:

Right after Summer camp in New Hampshire Henry moved to San Francisco. He ran from the airplane and threw out his arms to greet his parents that he hadn't seen for 5 long weeks while he was away at camp. He was glad they would maybe finally stay in S.F. but he never knew if they would stay or go.

Chapter Eight:

San Francisco was great with a new small school called S.F.S., making great new friends, and loving the new house. He also liked to view the sun set over the ocean every day. I was spectacular.

About the Author (written by the Author...): Henry is 10 years old and has one brother, one sister, one Mother and one father. This book is about his challenges immigrating. He lives at XXXX in San Francisco and goes to school at the San Francisco School.

I mean HOW damn cute is that?? What a great kid! We move him all over the world, and he still views it mostly with rose-colored glasses. But, for the record, he has never been to the Washington Monument. Also, he was never bit by a dog, fierce or otherwise. His brother, George-the-Younger was indeed terrorized by a dog at an early age. I just wanted to point these out, as I didn't want any horrendous James Frey thing raining down on our house.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Signature Scents

This week George the Younger experienced a surprising milestone. Surprising for him and surprising for me. He got his first pimple. He didn't know what to do with it. Neither did I. I kind just kept looking at it like it was some kind of small pox on his head. He's only 12 for the Love Of Pete. In my mind it couldn't be a zit. It had to be a viral disease of some kind. Obviously. Where did my smelling-like-milk-and-talcum sweet little chubby baby go? The way of the dodo. I am so sad.

I admit I kinda knew this was coming. I knew in the way that only mothers of boys know. I knew because in the past several months walking in to the boys bedroom means being assaulted with "BoySmell." In hindsight, this odor was a harbinger of adolescent-things-to-come. It's a odoriferous bouquet of sweat socks and jock strap with a subtle top note of stale potato chips. It's a scent sensation not entirely dissimilar to the highly recognizable "LockerRoom" or "WrestlingMat" fragrance, but not nearly quite as pungent.

"BoySmell" hangs insidiously in the air. You know it's there. You raise your nose to catch the whiff like a dog catching the smell of a nearby skunk. You glance around the room trying to determine the exact source of the odor so that you can eliminate it. You realize this is an impossibility.

I change their sheets regularly. I remove all dirty laundry within a 24 hour period. George the Younger takes showers daily of his own volition. Henry is thrown forcefully in to the shower every other day. George the Younger is also a BIG fan of Axe. I open their windows to air out the place on all days when the weather is not producing heavy rain or hail. In other words, I feel that all reasonable precautions are taken. And yet..."BoySmell"

The consolation is that I know I am not alone. I have spoken to other boy moms who know and experience this smell on a daily basis. We agree that the WORST social enterprise right now is a sleepover with more than five boys age 10-15. This activity requires a significant financial investment to purchase giant bottles of Febreeze and lots of open windows. Further, after a couple of years of confusion as to "what-the-hell-is-that-smell-that-comes-home-permeated-in-the-boys-clothes-from-camp?????" question - - I know. Copious long term exposure to "BoySmell". Mystery solved.

So, we got the smell and now we've got the pimple. I did what every Mom does when faced with the first adolescent zit. I laughed at him. No, I didn't. I'm not that cruel. Well, yes I am that cruel, but I still didn't do it. I went to the store and I bought him some good face wash, some decent moisturizer and some keihl's version of pimple cream. If you remember, I myself have recently experienced some breakouts. So, I went for the good pimple cream since it looks like I am going to have to share it. Geeze. "BoySmell" and the sharing of cosmetics. A new era.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Girls and Poppies

Last week an unparalleled annual event came to pass. My girl scout cookies were delivered. Boxes right to my front door from a darling little-sash wearing neighborhood girl scout. Fabulous. In past years both my daughter and my sister have taken the initiative to purchase these little morsels of delight and put them in boxes to send to me in several overseas locations. For that, I was eternally grateful. This year, now that we are US dwellers once again, I could buy them on my own. Somoas, Thin Mints, and whatever the ones with the salmonella-less peanut butter are called. All uncharacteristically yummy. In just a few days we have nearly polished them all off. Sad.

Simultaneously, I have been catching a number of recent news stories about the horrendous goings-on in Mexico between the various drug cartels. Lots of killing over turf and market. Just the other day I was listening to an NPR story regarding the economic connections between the voracious drug consumption of the US (demand) and the drug production and distribution of Mexico (supply). Which got me to thinking. If the demand from US customers was so high that Mexican suppliers had something to really fight about (to the point where they were both willing and able to execute competitors) who were all these customers? It niggled me for a bit. Where were all these drugs going? If the story was correct and thousands upon thousands of pounds of drugs were being shipped to the US, wouldn't we see this drug consumption on a daily basis? And not just in the places that are obvious - I'm talking about everywhere. That's a damn lot of product. I was thinking about this just as I popped the 20th Samoa in to my mouth. And then the penny dropped. Hmmmm? Was there a connection there?

It had crossed my mind a few days earlier as I gleefully wrote the check for a wee tidy sum of money to my little green sashed supplier - why on earth were these cookies so damn expensive? Why was I so willingly, no, so zealously, writing a check for this particular type of cookie? Baked goods that, per unit, were insanely more expensive than any other mass-produced boxed cookie available in the US cookie market place? More importantly, why did I have to immediately place the Samoas in the freezer to keep myself from ripping open the package right there in the hallway and rabidly eating them one-by-one-by-one until the entire package was nothing more than shredded paper and crumpled plastic? Could there be something more to my shaking hands, rapid breathing and glazed eyes than just the thrill of seeing a girl scout on my doorstep?

With this small seed of girl-scouts-gone-wrong planted in my brain, I actually took the time to peruse the ingredients listed on the side of the Samoas package. Not surprisingly, there wasn't an actual opiate listed anywhere. But who's to say that it isn't hidden in the TBHQ, the Carrageenan or the invert sugar? Yes, Wikipedia has defined all the aforementioned ingredients. Lots of scientific jargon that is supposed to give the consumer some comfort that these things are just emollients or elasticizers or whatever. But, is it too far a leap to think conspiracy here? Everything leans in that direction and where there's smoke....

I'm not saying that there is smack laced in the cookies, I'm just saying it's all a little too suspicious, don't ya think? Girl Scout Cookie time and Mexican Cartels gone awry simultaneously? Exorbitantly high prices and glaring mystifying changes in your ability to govern yourself when eating them?

I'm just saying that I know that there are only 10 somoas left in my freezer. I'm considering hiding them inside a package of fish sticks so the boys think that they are all gone. Is it wrong to lie to your children about some cookies? Or is it just a sign of deteriorating moral turpitude brought on by an insatiable craving?

I'm just saying that I know that some time in the month of March these cookies will go on sale in front of grocery stores and Target and Home Depot. This makes me very happy. "Happy" as in I can scratch that little "girl-scout-cookie-itch" one more time this year. Addiction is an unkind master.

(Personal Consumption / Addiction Management Tip: If you put Samoas in the freezer you cannot, without risking chipped teeth or annihilated dental work, eat them ravenously. You must plan ahead for the 2-3 minute defrost time thereby putting the brakes on thoughtlessly consuming more than you had planned. Just a little helpful hint to other Samoa eaters everywhere. Unfortunately, this tip does NOT work for Thin Mints. Cold merely enhances the addictive attributes. For Thin Mints, just accept that an entire sleeve equals one hit no matter what the package says.)